Air Travel Deals: Do New Perks Offset High Prices?

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The cost of flying gets more and more expensive each day as gas prices continue to rise across the county. And, that doesn’t just apply to the ticket prices.

How Much You Need In Your Wallet For Your Next Flight
Part 2, Budgeting on the Fly
MainStreet Explains: How Much Extra Cash You Now Need to Fly


Most airlines are began implementing a fee to check a second piece of luggage early in 2008 and some, like American Airlines, announced that they will begin charging passengers to check their first piece of luggage starting this summer. And, still others, like United Airlines (UAUA), announced that they will begin raising the prices of in-flight amenities and charging $2 for non-alcoholic drinks which were previously free of charge.

*Check out Parts One and Two of How Much You Need In Your Wallet On Your Next Flight for a breakdown of their airlines and what their fees.*

But there is a silver lining of sorts.

The same major airlines that are increasing prices are providing passengers with new and improved technology to make up for it. United Airlines announced that they will now provide iPod ports in their business class sections on all of their international flights. These ports will allow Apple (AAPL) users to watch their own iPod, iPhone and iTouch downloads on larger screens (in the headrest of the previous seat).

Similarly American Airlines (AMR) will be the first carrier to offer Gogo, a WiFi service, to its passengers. The internet access will allow people to conduct their business online using laptops, smart phones, and other internet accessing devices while in-flight. And in a more visual approach, Virgin America has equipped its aircraft with mood lighting. The colors change throughout the flight and were added to inspire feelings of pleasure, relaxation and calm for the passengers.

But, do these added benefits make up for the additional costs? You be the judge:

AMERICAN AIRLINES

Roundtrip ticket from New York to Los Angeles: $583
Perk: WiFi- $12.95 on flights longer than 3 hours; $9.95 on shorter trips.
Checked Luggage Fee: $15, for first bag; $25, for second bag.

UNITED AIRLINES
Roundtrip ticket from New York to Los Angeles: $629
Perk: iPod ports- free but, available only in business and first class.
Checked Luggage Fee: $15, for first bag; $25, for second bag.

VIRGIN AMERICA

Roundtrip ticket from New York to Los Angles: $463
Perk: Mood Lighting- free.
Checked Luggage Fee- free, for first bag; $10, for second bag.

What do you think? Are the new in-flight amenities worth the rise in prices and fees? Leave your comment here at MainStreet.com.


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